Tyler Perry is building his empire and his next venture is coming with a little help from his friends at BET.
During his Ultimate Icon Award acceptance speech at the 2019 BET Awards on Sunday, Perry acknowledged the #OscarsSoWhite fight but pointed out how he chose to focus on self-sufficiency instead. In fact, the mention caused a bit of a stir on Black Twitter, sparking conversations around the problematic nature of his own content as well as skepticism surrounding the nobility of what is essentially black capitalism.
“While you’re fighting for a seat at the table, I’ll be down in Atlanta building my own,” Perry said, to roaring applause in the audience.
Along with his Tyler Perry Studios, it looks like Perry is diving into the streaming content world; Viacom officially confirmed a partnership with him to launch BET+ this fall.
“African Americans are the leading consumers of streaming services, with higher SVOD adoption rates than other consumers, which is why we’re so excited to launch a premium product for this underserved audience,” BET Networks President Scott Mills said in a press release via Deadline. “Tyler Perry is the perfect partner for BET+. The combination of new, original shows and his giant library of popular movies, series and stage plays that Tyler brings to our joint venture creates an amazing product for his large and passionate fan base.”
As Deadline reports:
BET+ will offer a mix of African-American-focused dramas, sitcoms, films and specials. It will be the official home of Perry’s collected works across film, television and the stage, including films from the Madea series; original series House of Payne and Meet the Browns and a selection of Perry’s stage plays.
First Wives Club, a remake of the 1996 comedy starring Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton, will star Jill Scott, Ryan Michelle Bathe and Michelle Buteau. Other original series will be produced by Will Packer , the prolific producer known for hits like Ride Along and Think Like a Man as well as a new one from Perry himself.
There isn’t a confirmed price tag on the upcoming service at this time, but Perry is surely hoping to make this new partnership a fruitful venture, given his career trajectory.
“[Tyler Perry Studios] is built on land that was a confederate army base,” the entertainment mogul added in his acceptance speech. “They were fighting to keep 3.9 million negroes enslaved. Now one negro owns it all.”
“In our industry, the way people consume content is constantly evolving. I’ve paid attention to my audience and what works for them and, for that reason, I’m very excited not only about the idea of partnering with BET to create new and exciting content, but also about the idea of giving people a personalized experience through the ability to curate the content they love to consume. On a personal level, this will also be the first time I’ll be working in areas like unscripted and variety television, which will afford me the opportunity to work in fresh, creative ways with new voices and to discover new talent,” Perry noted in the BET+ announcement press release.
Cool. Is it wrong that the first person I thought of when he said “discover new talent” is homegirl who bought out that billboard to get Perry’s attention?